ACTING LOCALLY: More then 1,200 protesters march from Hart Park to the Orange Circle in Orange on Saturday in an event that coincided with anti-war rallies around the world.
ANA VENEGAS / The Register
Sunday, February 16, 2003
O.C.'s biggest anti-war protest draws 2,000
No violence as sign-waving demonstrators gather in Orange.
By PAT BRENNAN
The Orange County Register
In Orange, in Hollywood, in New York, thousands of anti-war protesters turned out Saturday in the greatest numbers seen since the Bush administration began setting its diplomatic and military sights on ousting Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
About 2,000 jammed Orange's shopping district, clogging neighborhood streets with traffic as the demonstrators sang, chanted and waved all manner of signs.
The protest began at Hart Park and included a noisy march to the center of the city's traffic circle.
"It was peaceful," said Orange police Lt. Jackie Gomez-Whitely. "They were cooperative."
"I don't want anyone's children to die in this war," said Jeanne Egasse, a Spanish professor at Irvine Valley College. "We need to spend the money here at home."
Hand-drawn signs read, "Drop Bush Not Bombs," and "Forget Iraq. Where's Osama?"
"I don't feel we're prepared for what will happen when we go in," said Jim Benson, of Anaheim, a member of the Orange County Democratic Party central committee. "We're not prepared to deal with uprising."
The protesters, from college students to retirees, made what was likely the county's largest anti-war protest so far. The cause attracted about 50 supporters at one of the first protests in October at South Coast Plaza.
The ranks grew steadily: 150 in Aliso Viejo in November, 600 at the Nixon library in January, a growing presence each weekend at Laguna's Main Beach, from a few dozen to about 200 Saturday.